Weaving Ecology Series Bookshare


The Working Centre is launching it's first every bookshare!

In 2019 we will be hosting a five-book Bookshare as part of our Weaving Ecology series.  Each book brings an interesting unique perspective on our society and our relationship with the earth, questioning the denialism and fatalism that so often inhabits (or inhibits) our ecological imagination.  The books can help to deepen our community conversation about relationship with nature, celebrating abundance, and honouring our limits.

Join us for all or part of the bookshare (see the 5 books below); one book every 2 months.  Purchase all five of these books (for yourself or as a gift idea) for $110; or purchase them individually.  Email waterlooschool@theworkingcentre.org to connect about discussion groups.

Becoming Good Ancestors

by David Ehernfeld

Becoming Good Ancestors unites in a single, up-to-date framework pieces written over two decades, spanning politics, ecology, and culture, and illuminating the forces in modern society that thwart our efforts to solve today's hard questions about society and the environment. The book focuses on our present-day retreat from reality, our alienation from nature, our unthinking acceptance of new technology and rejection of the old, the loss of our ability to discriminate between events we can control and those we cannot, the denial of non-economic values, and the decline of local communities. If we are aware of what we are losing and why we are losing it, the author notes, all of these patterns are reversible. Through down-to-earth examples, ranging from a family canoe trip in the wilderness to the novels of Jane Austen to Chinese turtle and tiger farms, Ehrenfeld shows how we can use what we learn to move ourselves and our society towards a more stable, less frantic, and far more satisfying life, a life in which we are no longer compelled to damage ourselves and our environment, in which our children have a future, and in which fewer species are endangered and more rivers run clean. In the final chapter, he offers a dramatic view of the possibilities inherent in a fusion of the best elements of conservatism and liberalism. Our society has an inherent sense of what is right, says Ehrenfeld, and the creativity and persistence to make good things happen. It is now time to apply our intelligence, guided by our moral judgment, to the very large problems we all face. This book is an important first step.


Braidiing Sweetgrass

By Robin Wall Kimmerer

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise" (Elizabeth Gilbert).


Post Modern Ecological Spirituality

By Joe Holland

THE CURRENT FAILURE of so many religious institutions, along with the spiritual emptiness pervading late-modern industrial societies, can't be blamed just on "secularization." So many sincere people thirst for spiritual meaning, yet they don't find it in failing religious institutions. At the same time, so many sincere people are spiritually despairing over the refusal by hyper-masculine global elites of Modern Industrial Civilization to turn away from profitable but anti-ecological systems, which are so rapidly devastating the creative communion of life across our loving Creator's beloved planet Earth. In this ground-breaking book, eco-philosopher and Catholic theologian Joe Holland links those two challenges. Principal author of the widely read text Social Analysis: Linking Faith and Justice and ghostwriter for two highly praised Appalachian Pastoral Letters, he insightfully explores the late-modern breakdowns of both civilization and spirituality. He correlates the social and ecological breakdown of Modern Industrial Civilization with the deeper cultural breakdown of Modern Psychological Spirituality, which is found in both Catholic and Protestant forms, as well as in other religious forms. At the same time, he explores the seminal emergence of Postmodern Ecological Spirituality, which is already planting regenerative seeds for a future Postmodern Ecological Civilization. This challenging book provides essential background for: 1) understanding at the deep level the interwoven late-modern global devastation of ecological, societal, and spiritual life; and 2) seeking at the deep level the holistic postmodern global regeneration of ecological, social, and spiritual life, which Pope Francis has called "integral ecology."


Radical Simplicity

By Jim Merkel

Imagine you are first in line at a potluck buffet. The spread includes not just food and water, but all the materials needed for shelter, clothing, healthcare, and education. How do you know how much to take? How much is enough to leave for your neighbors behind you-not just the six billion people, but the wildlife, and the as-yet-unborn?

In the face of looming ecological disaster, many people feel the need to change their own lifestyles as a tangible way of transforming our unsustainable culture. Radical Simplicity is the first book that guides the reader to a personal sustainability goal, then offers a process to monitor progress to a lifestyle that is equitable amongst all people, species, and generations. It employs three tools to help readers begin their customized journey to simplicity:

  • It builds on steps from Your Money or Your Life so readers can design their own personal economics to save money, get free of debt, and align their work with their values.
  • It uses refined tools from Our Ecological Footprint so readers can measure how much nature is needed to supply all they consume and absorb their waste.
  • And by advocating time alone in wild nature, it opens readers to another reality with humanity as one species among many on a complex and inter-related planet.

Combining lyrical narrative, compassionate advocacy and absorbing science, Radical Simplicity is a practical, personal answer to 21st century challenges that will appeal as much to Cultural Creatives and students as to spiritual seekers, policy makers and sustainability professionals.


Love in the Age of Ecological Apocalypse

By Carolyn Baker

Given the daunting, dire predicament in which we find ourselves on this planet, what is described by social critic James Howard Kunstler as a "Long Emergency" may in fact become a "Last Emergency" for humanity. Whether we encounter a "long" or a "last" emergency, Carolyn Baker seeks to offer inspiration and guidance for inhabiting our remaining days with passion, vitality, empathy, intimate contact with our emotions, kindness in our relationships with all species, gratitude, open-hearted receptivity, exquisite creations of beauty, and utilizing every occasion, even our demise, as an opportunity to invoke and "inflict" joy in our world. Love in the Age of Ecological Apolcalypse addresses an array of relationships in the Last Emergency and how one's relationship with oneself may enrich or impede interactions with all other beings.

Drawing upon her deep experience as a life coach, Baker writes of the specific need to understand our key relationships in a society in collapse, and how to navigate through differing levels of acceptance of collapse, trauma, and grief. Key relationships include those with our partners, children, friends, neighbors, as well as relationships with our work, our bodies, our natural resources, food and eating, animals, future generations, Eros, and indeed, the powers of the universe.